Once a man has the love of Christ in his heart you need not train him to witness; he will do it.
D. Martin Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981)
The resolute purpose of our Lord exemplified His devotion to duty, it showed not less clearly the triumph of His love. For in this case duty was the offspring of love; love undertook the obligation; and all through His life, and especially at its close, love and duty went hand in hand. At the end, the triumph of love was all the greater, because the wickedness it had to conquer was so frightful. Cold floods fell upon a warm heart, but the heart remained as warm as ever. At Calvary, men seemed to defy the love of Christ. They did every conceivable thing to turn it into hatred. But the endurance of Christ showed that no impression had been made on it. His was love that many waters could not quench, and that floods could not drown.
W. G. Blaikie, Glimpses of the Inner Life of Our Lord
Our Lord did make a good choice when He saved you and me; for in us He has found abundant room for His mercy and grace. There has been elbow room for His love to work within the awful emptiness of our necessities and sins; and therein He has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.
Charles Spurgeon, The Believing Thief
It would be a good contest among Christians, one to labor to give no offense, and the other to labor to take none.
Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
Commenting on “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” in the Lord’s Prayer:
Wrapt up in its encouragement there is a check to conscience. We are not to be allowed to present the petition at all, unless it be from the deepest sense of our need, and of the greatness of the gift we seek; a sense which is in reality equivalent to true repentance, and which brings with it, as its uniform and necessary fruit, love to our neighbor. And every one who knows how apt we are to become either hypocrites or careless formalists in prayer, will recognize the suitableness of such a check, and will appreciate the propriety of its being appended to this petition rather than any other. For this, more than any other, has been a lip-deep petition, and has been shamefully abused by self-satisfied or careless petitioners, by ourselves when we ask forgiveness, as we often ask it, without any considerate remembrance of the cost of it, thinking it the easiest thing for God to give, and forgetting that this has been prepared for us at a far greater expense, at a more personal expense, than anything else we can implore. It has been the endeavor of many teachers to persuade us, and yet we need to be reminded, that a word could create and beautify a world, and “an act of will bestow it upon us,” but it has cost God the humiliation and suffering of His well-beloved Son to grant the boon which now we ask. And therefore we are here suddenly startled out of all dreamy and indifferent prayer, and are aroused by being brought face to face with our own real desires and our own real life; we are reminded that our prayer had far better be unsaid, if it is not of a piece with our state of heart; that we cannot pray as one person and live as another; that we do not look as earnestly as we ought for the remission of our debts, (and therefore need not expect it,) unless we be doing what we can to avoid contracting new ones; that, in short, we have no encouragement whatever to present this petition, unless conscience assures us that the love of God, on which we hope, has entered our souls and changed them, and has become the principle and law of our lives.
Emphasis mine: Marcus Dods, The Prayer That Teaches to Pray
Legalism lacks the supreme sense of worship. It obeys but it does not adore.
Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949)
Loving God and loving people are not mutually exclusive. We are never forced to choose between the two. Calloused indifference toward the people of God is unmistakable evidence of disregard for God Himself. To love them is to love him.
original emphasis, Sam Storms, The Hope of Glory (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 31.
God does not love some ideal person, but rather human beings just as we are, not some ideal world, but rather the real world.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
If men’s affection to God is founded first on His profitableness to them, their affection begins at the wrong end; they regard God only for the utmost limit of the stream of divine good, where it touches them and reaches their interest, and have no respect to that infinite glory of God’s nature which is the original good, and the true foundation of all good, the first foundation of all true love.
Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections, p. 168-169